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  • IM Retreat Banner

    Here is the program for the 2023 Interdepartmental Microbiology Spring Retreat hosted at the Memorial Union on 3/21/23.(UPDATED)2023 IM RETREAT.pdf

  • Dylan.GRAM

    From Dylan:

  • Zach.GRAM

    From Zach: 

    "Corrosion is a spontaneous electrochemical process that results in the deterioration of metals, this process costs many fields across the globe trillions of dollars each year. Microbial biofilms have been identified in many studies as one of the causes for corrosion of metal surfaces through a process called microbiologically induced corrosion (MIC). However, microbial biofilms have also been implicated more recently as inhibitors of corrosion through microbiologically influenced corrosion inhibition (MICI).

  • GRAM.2023.Akhil

    Akhil is a fifth-year PhD student in the lab of Dr. Karin Allenspach-Jorn and Dr. Jonathan Mochel. His research  focuses on the impact of toxic intestinal metabolites on bladder cancer organoids. The project involves establishing a new patient-derived, non-invasive canine organoid model to test potential carcinogenic candidates and study metastasis pathways. This research aims to contribute to a better understanding of human bladder cancer pathogenesis.

  • Marissa.GRAM

    Marissa Roghair Stroud was awarded the Graduate Research Award in Microbiology (GRAM) for Summer 2023. Marissa is a 4th year PhD candidate in the lab of Dr. Larry Halverson, and her summer project will be using CRISPR interference to identify essential and conditionally essential genes in Pseudomonas putida, a model maize rhizosphere colonist. The long-term goal of her project is to use this information to determine genes that are essential for rhizosphere microbiome assembly and maintenance when growing alongside other organisms. By uncovering the rhizosphere microbiome assembly dynamics, we will someday be able to rationally design microbiomes for desired outcomes.


  • Gram.2023.Recipients

    This year, the Interdepearmental Microbiology program reinstated the Graduate Research Award in Microbiology (GRAM). 

    The purpose of the GRAM  is to encourage and recognize independent, creative thinking and planning toward important research that promises to generate significant new knowledge. A student may apply for the award by submitting an original research proposal. Proposed research that involves collaborative or cooperative efforts expected to provide unique experience and training for the student beyond what might be available in the student’s existing research program are especially encouraged.

    The 2023 recipients of the GRAM are:

  • List of Graduates

    Congratulations to all of the IM program members who graduated in 2022! 🎉


    We wish you all the best as you move forward with your careers!


  • Logan Ott at Conference

    Dr. Melha Mellata and graduate student Logan Ott recently traveled to Amsterdam in order to attend the 9th Beneficial Microbes Conference.


    Dr. Mellata was invited to give a talk titled, "Gut Neuroimmune Axis and the Microbiota". Logan Ott presented a poster titled, "Short Chain Fatty Acid Inhibition of Bacterial Plasmid Conjugation in Broth and Chicken Ceca". Logan was also invited to give a short talk.


    The link to the 9th Beneficial Microbes Conference can be found here:

  • Chickens and virtual reality screen

    Recently, the Mellata lab has had an exciting pilot study featured on local news and radio. Their interdisciplinary research examined the effect of virtual reality stimuli on chicken wellbeing.

  • Ben Presenting

    Congratulations to the new doctorate in town: Dr. Bienvenido Tibbs-Cortes! Ben successfully defended this afternoon.


    His presentation was titled: "Identification and Functional Characterization of Genes Involved in the Listeria monocytogenes Stress Response".

  • Industry Networking Event Volunteers

    On October 28, 2022, MGSO, CVMAG, and the ASM Young Ambassadors hosted the first Industry Networking Event at the beautiful Rieman Gardens. Over 100 students were given the opportunity to network with companies whose work revolves around the biological sciences. Companies came from around the midwest to participate. After the morning networking session, both company representatives and students were invited to participate in a panel discussion in the afternoon. MGSO received a great deal of positive feedback from both companies and students.


    Thank you to everyone who volunteered to make this event such a great success!


  • Group Photo

    The 82nd American Society for Microbiology North Central Branch meeting was held in person at Grinnell College on October 21, 2022. 

    Grace Carey gave a poster presentation titled, "Antimicrobial Resistance Indicators in Root Endophytes After Manure Fertilization".

    Zachary Burton gave an oral presentation titled, "Effects of Environmental Biofilms on Steel Corrosion".

    Marissa Roghair Stroud gave an oral presentation titled, "CRISPRi to identify Pseudomonas putida Gene Networks Essential for Rhizosphere Microbiome Assembly". 

    Marissa would go on to win third place overall for her graduate student oral presentation!

  • Figure 5 from Wherry et al.

    Congratulations to defending students! Additional congratulations to Akhil Vinithakumari and Taylor Wherry for recent publications.

  • Micro students with the presentation

    Our participation in the WISE Go Further Girls STEM Conference was recently recognized by the ASM young leader's newsletter.

  • Lucas Koester

    Congratulations to Lucas Koester on his recent PhD defense!


  • Publication Icon

    Logan Ott, of the Mellata lab in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition,  recently published a first-author paper titled, "Models for Gut-Mediated Horizontal Gene Transfer by Bacterial Plasmid Conjugation".

    "This review discusses key studies on the current models for in silico, in vitro, and in vivo modeling of bacterial conjugation, and their ability to reflect the gut of animals. We particularly emphasize the use of computational and in vitro models that may approximate aspects of the gut, as well as animal models that represent in vivo conditions to a greater extent. Directions on future research studies in the field are provided.". - Read full article here

  • Marissa Stroud

    Congratulations to Marissa Roghair Stroud of the Halverson Lab for passing her prelims! Further congratulations to Dr Nancy Boury, Dr Nick Peters, and EB Wlezien on being featured in an article by ISU CALS.



  • Dr Nancy Boury

    Congratulations to Dr Nancy Boury on her article that was recently published in Times Higher Education.

  • Logan Ott

    Congratulations to Logan Ott for his recent award of a United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA) Predoctoral Fellowship!

  • Interdepartmental Microbiology News

    As the semester comes to a close we’d like to highlight and celebrate some of the amazing work and achievements of the graduate students and faculty in the Interdepartmental Microbiology Graduate Program!

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